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Student To Reinstate Tradition Of 'Miss' Pageant Participation

June 19, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Meredith Mohr

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Angelic Ortiz crowning
Angelic Ortiz was crowned Miss Sam Houston by the former titleholder Risa Mitchell on April 3. She will be competing in the Miss Texas pageant July 4-7. The pageant, held in Allen, will be televised. —Submitted photos

Angelic OrtizWhen she first heard about the Miss Sam Houston pageant her sophomore year, Angelic Ortiz said she was too shy to even fill out the paperwork. But with a little encouragement and inspiration from watching former Miss Sam Houston Risa Mitchell on stage, Ortiz tried again the next year.

And as a junior, she won.

Now, she will be competing in the Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant on July 4-7, representing Sam Houston State University with a “manicured Bearkat claw” and what she hopes is a winning smile.

Originally from the Bronx, but a Texan for many years, Ortiz is the first Miss Sam Houston to compete in the Miss Texas Scholarship pageant since the 1980s.

The Miss Sam Houston pageant began in the university’s early days, known originally as the “Bathing Beauty Review,” an event hosted by the Caroline Belvin Literary Society. The winner received new clothes, jewelry, flowers and the title of “Bathing Beauty.”

In 1949, the title was changed to “Miss Sam Houston.” Ten years later, the sponsorship of the pageant was turned over to the Alpha Delta Pi sorority when the members of the Caroline Belvin Literary Society were initiated into the sorority.

Over the decades, Greek houses such as Alpha Tau Omega and Kappa Sigma hosted the pageant. During this time, the Miss Sam Houston pageant and the Miss Huntsville pageant were combined, and the winner qualified to proceed to the Miss Texas and Miss America pageant.

Raeauna Bowen, executive director of Program Council and the 2012 Miss Sam Houston Pageant coordinator, said the pageant flourished until it disappeared in the late 1980s. The Miss Sam Houston pageant was brought back in 2011 by Courtney Hill, former Program Council spirit and traditions chair and SHSU alumna.

“We are unsure exactly why the pageant disappeared from university life,” Bowen said. “Courtney did tons of research along with the staff in Student Activities. She was successful in bringing the pageant back, and I was able to do bigger and better things in her footsteps.”

SHSU reconnected with the Miss Texas Organization this year, with Ortiz and SHSU student Whitney Wylie representing Katy. Because SHSU wasn't eligible for the Miss Texas Organization circuit during last year's Miss Sam Houston pageant, the MTO awarded the title of Miss Huntsville to the former Miss Sam Houston, Risa Mitchell, who will also be competing in the upcoming contest.

“In the past, whoever won the Miss Sam Houston pageant automatically became the representative for Miss Huntsville in the Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant,” Bowen said. “When the pageant disappeared from campus, our connection to the Miss Texas Organization was lost as well. I learned that Miss Sam Houston went on to be a part of the Miss Texas Scholarship pageant when I was a contestant in the pageant, and I thought to myself that it would be really cool if we had the opportunity to compete as Miss Texas. When I became the spirit and traditions chair for Program Council, I knew that it was my goal.”

Bowen said that a coincidence helped make the reconnection possible.

“I contacted the Miss Texas Organization manager, at first seeing if Miss Texas was available to make an appearance at the Miss Sam Houston pageant, which she did,” Bowen said. “I told her the story of the pageant, and it turned out that her daughter attended SHSU in the 1970s or 1980s and was a winner of the Miss Sam Houston pageant. The board of the Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant was gracious enough to push the deadline for our girls to compete in the Miss Texas pageant. I informed the girls just a few weeks before the show at practice, and they were so excited. I was just happy we were able to make that reconnection.”

Ortiz said that although she had no pageant experience besides winning the title of Miss Sam Houston and watching famous pageants such as Miss America growing up, she went into the experience of Miss Sam Houston with a hope for adventure, something she will apply to her journey toward the Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant in July.

“Nervousness is an understatement,” Ortiz said. “However, I am going in with the determination and knowledge that I'm not alone. I get constant messages of pride and good luck from friends, my sorority sisters, New York City family, and the Bearkat community. This opportunity is far from my comfort zone but, as daunting as it is, new ventures are always exciting for me. I'm excited to continue putting SHSU Bearkats on the map since we've already been doing so much this year.”

The Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant will be televised statewide, and will be held in the Allen Center Arena in Allen. Viewers and fans are encouraged to vote online for the Miss Texas People’s Choice Award. Each vote is $1 and the contestant with the most votes automatically makes it to the final night of the competition. To vote, viewers may go to https://fourpointsmagazine.com/miss-texas-peoples-choice-awards/item/641-angelic-ortiz.



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